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Archive for June, 2002


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Photos have been recovered. Leafy and Weedy Seadragons are some of my favorite ocean critters. Hmm. I’m trying to think of more to say, but nothing is coming out. Sorry about the different photo templates. My big machine is lying unplugged in Tony’s Queens living room, while I am still in Manhattan. I’ll try to remember to fix it next week when we are reunited.

Holy megabytes! In May 2002 alone, echeng.com moved 7.99GB of data. It’s well under my 30GB limit, but it’s still a lot of content. And, the #1 search term was “pooping” — no doubt referring to this page. I’d like to think that people are finding me for the other content on the site, but… sigh :) (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 10 comments » | Jun 25, 2002 12:36:08


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Crap. I accidentally erased all of the photos I took at the Baltimore Aquarium yesterday. This is the first time something like this has happened. :( I’m losing my mind, or something like that.

I guess I could recover them, but that would involve buying a file recovery program that works on removable media. Oh well.

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jun 24, 2002 07:09:39


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| link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jun 23, 2002 22:31:57

SLSQ in Baltimore

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[written earlier today] I’ve had more than a few “what’s the hell am I doing?” – moments during the past week, strangely timed, often immediately after being in the company of others. It’s not really that I’m lonely, although… loneliness in the presense of others is far worse than true physical loneliness. Who knows what’s wrong? Maybe it’s a side-effect of trying to adapt to New York.

However, I was treated to the company of good friends Barry, Geoff and Livia this weekend, which lifted my mood. The St. Lawrence String Quartet is in town performing at Peabody and Johns Hopkins, and we took advantage of the opportunity to shoot some urgently needed press photos with their new cellist, Alberto. After struggling to wake up on Saturday (results of having stayed up in their Baltimore hotel room until 5:30am watching Korea somehow beat Spain), I looked out the window and realized that I was five floors above Jenny, in the same building I was in the last (and first) time I was in Baltimore! I wish she was in town. I could have surprised her by showing up at her door.:)

After the photo shoot (it is really, really hard to get a casual photo of four people without any closed eyes ending up in the shot!), Alberto and I sweated our way back to the hotel to fetch Livia. (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jun 23, 2002 22:24:39

Reuters, IR, Capital Punishment

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“Dollar Slammed by Trade Data.” “Nasdaq swoons into afternoon.” “MGM stock mauled after warning.”

Reuters headlines are ridiculous! The sheer quantity of daily, thesaurus-assisted headlines like those above boggles the mind, and the feed manages even to spruce up titles when nothing is really happening.

I finally have a full set of IR filters for testing with the modified Coolpix 990. Now, if I could just find some greenery in this city to photograph, without having to go all the way up to the park… :)

Harrison & Harrison #88a filter

Tiffen #87 glass filter, indoors with camera flash (!)

The AP feed has a story today called “Court Disallows Executing Retarded.” An excerpt:

In the future, the ruling will mean that people arrested for a killing will not face a potential death sentence if they can show they are retarded, generally defined as having an IQ of 70 or lower.

Isn’t it strange — capital punishment opinions aside — for something like this to happen, given that the line between mentally retarded and “normal” isn’t a fine one? It seems to me like it will only cause more bloating of the legal system as death row inmates appeal on the grounds that they are retarded.

| link | trackb | 8 comments » | Jun 20, 2002 10:07:14

Stanford Graduation

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I tried to go to sleep, but I can’t. I’ve been in a vaguely zombie-like state for a long time now. Here are some photos from Stanford Graduation last weekend (below). I shot two rolls of film with my EOS 3, but they have been donated to Dan and Amie, so they are unavailable for scanning and posting. I love that camera, and wish the digital “version” didn’t cost $5500. :) Ah well. But I did bring a Canon G2 to take a few snapshots with. My other big camera stayed in New York, saving me from doing bag-stuffing and luggage-shuffling with expensive electronics.

Everyone should congratulate Dan for graduating! We were all over at one of Amie’s relatives’ house, celebrating. I miss my friends. :(

Condoleeza Rice’s speech was suitable for the event, but most of the speeches I heard (at the big graduation and the History graduation) were unremarkable. In typical fashion, half-assed Stanford protestors walked around the stadium with understated signs, protesting “Condi’s Rogue State.” Dan said the Secret Service were not so happy with students throwing things from the stadium floor when Condi was up on stage. What did they expect? This is Stanford. Graduation is chaos. :) (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Jun 19, 2002 12:51:51

Monterey, Coolpix IR, Computer Acoustics

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When I stepped off of the airplane in San Francisco at 8:30pm on Friday evening, I was greeted by an expanse of midnight blue the likes of which my New York alleyway has never seen. I couldn’t have been happier. :) The next morning I was sitting on a patio in Monterey, eating a pulled-pork sandwich and sipping strawberry lemonade with Amabelle. Of course, now, I’m back in New York, but hopefully those images will keep me going for the next few weeks. :)

I managed to get ahold of a modified Nikon Coolpix 990 that has the hot mirror filter removed from a very generous guy named Gary (who did the modification for me). I’ll be posting more information about this in the next couple of weeks, so please don’t email me about contact information yet. :) I’m waiting for some parts so I can use my old filters with it, but for now, here are a couple of snapshots demonstrating what it can do. Unfortunately, they were taken with an #88A filter, which still lets in some red light :(, but one of the photos was taken out of a taxi on the highway, so you can see that the shutter speeds are much more usable than what other digicams are capable of.

The new jellyfish exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is pretty neat. It’s themed, “Jellies: Living Art,” and tries to tie jellyfish forms with art that may or may not really have been inspired by jellyfish. To be honest, I just wanted to see the jellyfish, and thought that some of art served only to take up space. If I wanted to see Kandinsky, I’d go to a museum. (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jun 17, 2002 20:17:21

Zaniello, Kestler, Walton

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update – thunder storm!! i’m definitely not used to rain in the summer. bleh.

I was searching around and found the old liner notes for Glenn Gould’s 1956 Goldberg Variations record, which you might find interesting, if you’re into those types of things. :) I’m currently having fun learning about how C# consumes COM objects, which is fairly well documented up to a certain point. Unfortunately, that point is fairly remedial, so it’s been an interesting process. It’s even more interesting because the last time I used COM was while doing OLE stuff at Trilogy in 1996. :) Oh man. This IT guy in the room I’m working in is reading Windows NT dialog box messages with an affected, Hispanic gangsta’ inflection. This, combined with every other word being “f*ckin’ ” — New York style, which sounds more like “fockin’ ” — is driving me insane. The amount of swearing is inversely proportional to how far boss-man is. I’ve never really heard pseudo tech-talk spoken this way before. Save me.

There are some photos below of Justin Kestler and Ben Zaniello (an old friend from freshman year at Stanford, whom I haven’t seen in years), but first, check out http://www.ihatebillwalton.com. A buddy of mine just put up the site a week ago. Here’s some associated text: (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jun 12, 2002 11:02:43

Shitty Code

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Check this out. This is verbatim from the API documentation we’re dealing with. Financial software is some of the worst code in the world — you’d have to try to make it this bad. My favorite part of the blurb below is the last sentence.

14.4. Miscellaneous Flags

Each fundamental record includes a flags field. This field has the following definitions:

#define ATFI_FUNDFLAG_DELETE 0×00008000
#define ATFI_FUNDFLAG_VERSION 0xff000000

This specifies that the record has been deleted.

#define ATFI_VERSION 0xff000000

This value is used to retrieve the version of the record.

To create the DBM database number is created with:

| link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jun 10, 2002 09:21:47

Victor, Joe, Tony, Queens

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I finally met up with Victor Wishna last night at around 8:30pm for dinner at Republic — a noodle bar knock-off of a well known place in London. While playing phone tag with Rachel, we sauntered slowly from Union Square up to Time Square, taking advantage of the time to catch up and to take random night photos.

Joe and I wandered around Queens today and ate at Joe’s Shanghai out in Flushing (…which turned out to be better than the one in Chinatown; maybe I was more hungry this time, or… maybe my expectations were just more realistic…?) I ate 12 of them. :) After that, we drove to a random stadium parking lot where Joe happened to run into some old RC-racing buddies of his. I still think it’s a strange crowd. Where else can young boys and older men mingle in a legitimate setting? :)

We also drove under the 7 train (dodging mis-thrown basketballs and Puerto Rican-flag bearing pedestrians) on our way out to visit Tony, before fighting traffic on the way back to Manhattan. (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 7 comments » | Jun 8, 2002 19:49:25

IR, The Bat

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Here’s an old photo I took on August 11, 1999. I was really into digital infrared photography back then, because it worked really well with the early 2.1 megapixel cameras (like the Nikon Coolpix 950). They were my first published images (all sorts of digicam magazines picked them up), besides a shot of the “Lusty Lady” in Seattle that got published in PC Magazine right around the time Windows 95 came out. Their bright white sign said, “Try OUR Windows 95!” Nerd humor is great.

I decided today to stop using Microsoft Outlook as my email program. It’s a horribly-bloated dog when working with data files that are over 500MB (like mine has grown to be). I’ve even gone through and pruned all of the big attachments out of my old email to try to save space, but its performance — and the frequent crashing on my dual-processor machine — finally drove me over the edge this week.

I’m trying out The Bat!, which so far seems to be very fast and functional — at the cost of a fancy UI, of course. I have a good feeling about it. :) Anyone have suggestions for Windows-based PIMs? I also have a feeling that I’ll still be using Outlook for Contacts/Calendar/Notes, however, because I downloaded some highly-acclaimed, award-winning PIMs today, and they all really sucked.

UPDATE – It turns out that The Bat! sucks, too. Keyboard shortcuts stopped working after awhile (not that you could figure them out, anyway — they’re fairly counter-intuitive), and the program refused to exit, stating that processes were still active (and opening a new window every few seconds to tell me that). I’d guess that if I had started using The Bat! without importing tens of thousands of email messages, it might have worked as advertised. I guess I could try Eudora as well. I used to use Eudora on a Mac back in college, it was still fairly barbaric on the PC when I ditched the Mac in 1997. I remember really liking that you could manually filter each message after reading it, with a single keystroke.

| link | trackb | 6 comments » | Jun 6, 2002 19:18:30

Good laughs

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These might spice up your day (various links that people have sent me over the last couple of days):

- Star Wars: Episode II – Conan O’Brien Skit. A MUST SEE. It’s hilarious. :) “Are you a Korean guy under there?”
- Firemand’s Fund Image Bank – Old photos of San Francisco
- A 4″ wireless rover with a wireless camera on it
- A page to test your observation abilities. I’ve posted it before (with good results). Here’s the accompanying text from the forward:

“Find the Ghost” – This is pretty neat. Apparently the owners of this house had been seeing images and hearing voices for quite a while. They did some research and found that a lady once lived in the house who lost her husband during the civil war. Legend says that she used to sit at the table and look across the fields in anticipation of her loved one returning home. He never came. So, they say she still waits. They caught this photo of what they claim to be her. This one was wild and a little spooky once you find the ghost in the picture. It took me a few seconds to find it, but when you do it just stands out. Like one of those optical illusions. To save you some time, concentrate around the table . Best not to focus to much on one spot. Look around the table and toward the window. Click on the link below for the picture. Best to enlarge. For an added touch turn up the volume, it’s faint but you can hear the ghost talking sometimes in a low murmur. go to this web address to get the picture…
  • Wallet cards from Monterey Bay Aquarium that list fish with healthy populations, so you don’t inadvertently eat overfished seafood.
| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Jun 5, 2002 08:08:29

Craft, Famous People

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Amabelle and I went to eat at Craft last night, which had been highly recommended by more than one person I know. The only table available was at 10pm, so we leisurely wandered from the Financial District up to 19th St., stopping in Chinatown for some ice cream, and at various other places on the way to kill time.

After we were finally seated, Amabelle spotted Conan O’Brien in the corner, three tables away! He was eating with some other guy who I didn’t recognize. Also in the restaurant were Danny DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman (Carla, from Cheers), eating with two other people — only two tables away. Crazy! I got up to go to the restroom, and Danny DeVito had to wait for me to finish at the urinal before he could go. hehehe. He was walking around with eyes downcast — and definitely seemed not to be in a mood to chat with strangers. (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jun 4, 2002 08:44:01

Dulce, Korean food, B&H

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Amabelle and I spent the weekend wandering around New York (and surrounding area). On Saturday, we accompanied Joe and Rachel to Woodbury Commons, which is larger than the largest outlet mall I could have imagined to exist. Joe and I were unfortunate enough to order Dulce de Leche sundaes at H�agen Daz. Ugh. It seemed like a good idea until I started trying to eat mine. Liquidy-sweet death. I used my spoon to shovel out as much of the “dulce” caramel as I could into the closest trash can, but it was difficult because the trash can’s opening was on the side instead of on top.

On Saturday night we all went out to eat at a Korean restaurant called “Cho Dang Gol,” were Amabelle’s friend Ben told us a story about the half-japanese cellist chick that some Weezer song is about. Apparently Ben was the only one who witnessed the conversation between the Weezer dude and the girl (at Harvard), where he (the Weezer dude) asked her out to a Green Day concert. Of course, I have no idea what song he is talking about, since I’m no Weezer fan, but other people say it exists. :) (read more »)

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| link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jun 2, 2002 21:00:19
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